Turkey begins deporting Islamic State militants

Turkey starts deportation of Islamic State militants by expelling US national
2 min read
11 November, 2019
Alleged Islamic State group members from Germany, Denmark, France and Ireland are due to be deported, according to Turkey's interior ministry.
Around 1,200 foreign IS members are in Turkey's custody [Getty]
Turkey has started to deport a number of Islamic State militants, an interior ministry spokesman said on Monday.

Among those expelled on Monday is a US national who has not yet been named.

The ministry has said it will repatriate 11 French IS members pending legal proceedings and seven more from Germany are to be expelled later in the week.

Ankara said earlier this month it would deport any foreign IS members in its custody, even if they had already been stripped of their citizenship by their country of origin.

"One American foreign terrorist fighter was deported from Turkey after completing the procedures," said spokesman Ismail Catakli, according to state news agency Anadolu

"The travel programme of seven foreign terrorist fighters of German origin was completed at the repatriation centres. They will be deported on November 14," he added.

One Danish national and one Irish national are also soon to be deported, Catakli said.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said last week that Turkey had 1,200 foreign Islamic State militants in its custody, 287 of whom had been captured after Ankara launched its recent operation in northeastern Syria.

"We will send three, five, 10 people back," Soylu said on Friday.

"There is no need to try to escape from it, we will send them back to you. Deal with them how you want," he added, explaining that Turkey was not a "hotel" for IS members.

It is unclear how Turkey will be able to repatriate IS members who have been made stateless. It is also unclear how Ankara will be able to successfully repatriate militants to countries such as the United Kingdom which have proven highly reluctant to take back suspected IS members.

Although the 1961 New York Convention made it illegal to leave people stateless, several countries, including the UK and France, have not ratified it, and recent cases have triggered prolonged legal battles. 

The UK alone has stripped more than 100 people of their citizenship for allegedly joining extremist groups abroad.

Both France and the UK have insisted that suspected members of the group be held responsible for their alleged crimes in the countries where they were committed, Iraq and Syria.

Human rights groups have however issued warnings over alleged torture and lack of due process in both countries. Baghdad has also sentenced IS members to death, a practise that is outlawed by London and Paris.

Follow us Twitter and Instagram to stay connected